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Red Sox/Astros

Houston’s excellent offense prevailed against Boston’s ace in Game 1. MVP candidate Jose Altuve hit three home runs, including two off Cy Young candidate Chris Sale. Both teams send lefties to the mound in Game 2, Drew Pomeranz for the Red Sox and Dallas Keuchel for the Astros.

Boston Red Sox (Drew Pomeranz) at Houston Astros (Dallas Keuchel), 2:00 PM ET

PECOTA odds of winning: 68% Astros, 32% Red Sox

Projected Starting Lineups

Red Sox vs. Keuchel (L)

Astros vs. Pomeranz (L)

Xander Bogaerts (R), SS

George Springer (S), CF

Dustin Pedroia (R), 2B

Alex Bregman (R), 3B

Andrew Benintendi (L), LF

Jose Altuve (R), 2B

Mookie Betts (R), RF

Carlos Correa (R), SS

Hanley Ramirez (R), 1B

Evan Gattis (R), DH

Chris Young (R), DH

Josh Reddick (L), RF

Christian Vazquez (R), C

Yulieski Gurriel (R), 1B

Deven Marrero (R), 3B

Marwin Gonzalez (S), LF

Jackie Bradley (L), CF

Brian McCann (L), C

Injuries/Availability

Eduardo Nunez collapsed on his way to first base in Game 1, apparently re-aggravating the right knee injury that bothered him throughout September and necessitated the brace that was visible through his uniform. Nunez has been replaced on the ALDS roster by outfielder Chris Young. That would appear to put Hanley Ramirez in the lineup as Boston’s starting designated hitter again. Dustin Pedroia is nursing a knee injury and playing at less than 100 percent.

The Astros don’t have any serious injury concerns, but Lance McCullers has been terrible since returning from the DL in early September. It’s possible that the back injury that landed him on the DL is still bothering him. His sky-high September ERA landed him in the bullpen rather than the starting rotation for this series and nearly prompted the Astros to leave him off the ALDS roster altogether.

Outlook

Houston knocked Boston’s best pitcher around, reminding everyone that they had the best offense in baseball this season by a mile. Altuve homered three times, reminding everyone that he’s a serious MVP candidate. The Astros looked like a beast of a team, reminding everyone of the Sports Illustrated cover from 2014 that predicted a Houston championship in 2017.

Hanley Ramirez hasn’t hit well for the last couple of months, so Nunez's injury is especially bad news for Boston. The fact that they are trailing 1-0 in the series after starting their ace in Game 1 isn’t exactly good news, either. If they can’t get anything going against Keuchel and the Astros' bullpen in Game 2, they’ll be playing for their playoff lives in Game 3.

Yankees/Indians

From a process perspective, Terry Francona’s decision to start Trevor Bauer in Game 1 of the ALDS instead of Corey Kluber was controversial. From a results perspective, Francona looks like a genius in the wake of Bauer’s dominating performance and Cleveland’s shutout win. With a 1-0 lead in the series and their ace Corey Kluber lined up to start Game 2 against CC Sabathia, the Yankees are in some serious trouble.

New York Yankees (CC Sabathia) at Cleveland Indians (Corey Kluber), 5:00 PM ET

PECOTA odds of winning: 73% Indians, 27% Yankees

Projected Starting Lineups

Yankees vs. Kluber (R)

Indians vs. Sabathia (L)

Brett Gardner (L), LF

Francisco Lindor (S), SS

Aaron Judge (R), RF

Jason Kipnis (L), CF

Gary Sanchez (R), C

Jose Ramirez (S), 2B

Didi Gregorius (L), SS

Edwin Encarnacion (R), DH

Starlin Castro (R), 2B

Jay Bruce (L), RF

Greg Bird (L), 1B

Carlos Santana (S), 1B

Todd Frazier (R), 3B

Austin Jackson (R) LF

Chase Headley (S), DH

Roberto Perez (R), C

Aaron Hicks (S), CF

Giovanny Urshela (R), 3B

Injuries/Availability

If he were healthy, Brandon Guyer would probably start in left field against a lefty like Sabathia with Austin Jackson in center field. The wrist injury Guyer sustained a few weeks ago will probably keep him on the bench throughout the playoffs, leaving Cleveland with Jason Kipnis in center field and Jackson in left as their probable starters against LHP. If Jackson has to face a righty reliever, expect Lonnie Chisenhall to pinch-hit for him. If Cleveland has a lead late, expect Greg Allen to replace Kipnis for defensive purposes.

Matt Holliday was not in the Yankees' lineup for Game 1. A back injury landed him on the DL in August. He hasn’t hit well since he was activated from the DL a month ago and will probably remain on the bench for Game 2. Thankfully, Gary Sanchez seemed to be OK in Game 1 after a foul tip hit him in the most unwelcome of places during the Wild Card game.

Outlook

Cleveland’s pitching was the story, as Bauer, Andrew Miller, and Cody Allen combined to throw nine scoreless innings while striking out 14 and allowing only three hits and three walks. MVP candidate Aaron Judge led the whiff parade, wearing a golden sombrero in his playoff debut.

The decision to start Bauer in Game 1 was controversial. The fact that Cleveland is now a heavy favorite in this best-of-five series is not. With a 1-0 lead in the series and a big starting pitching advantage in Game 2, Francona’s team is in a strong position. There’s a decent chance that the Yankees will be facing elimination in Game 3. The most likely path to victory for New York in Game 2 is to scratch out a run or two against Kluber early, then aggressively deploy their excellent relief corps to give Cleveland’s hitters a harder time than Sabathia probably will.

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jfranco77
10/06
Hicks hasn't looked good at all. I wouldn't be surprised if the Yankees gave Ellsbury a start against Kluber.
Dodger300
10/07
Hicks played, and homered off Kluber. Yogi was right, it’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.
boatman44
10/06
He and Mikey are genius's, Along with all the Cleveland staff.I would challenge you to find a better staff in the last 30 years.